2017-08-09 / Rockingham

Gina DeCampo named winner of 2017 A.C.E. Award

Gina DeCampo receives the A.C.E. Award for her contributions to youth, families and the wider community. From left are GFC staff members Scott Sharland and Deb Witkus, Gina DeCampo, and GFC Director Laura Schairbaum. — COURTESY PHOTOGina DeCampo receives the A.C.E. Award for her contributions to youth, families and the wider community. From left are GFC staff members Scott Sharland and Deb Witkus, Gina DeCampo, and GFC Director Laura Schairbaum. — COURTESY PHOTOBELLOWS FALLS — In an effort to recognize the inspired, positive action happening every day, Greater Falls Connections (GFC) has named Gina DeCampo of Bellows Falls as the recipient of the 2017 Active Community Engagement (A.C.E.) Award.

Recipients of this award are the unsung heroes, within the community, who foster positive change and are dedicated to creating safe, healthy and fun options for youth, families and the community at large, according to a press release from GFC.

DeCampo is a volunteer firefighter with Saxtons River Fire Department and also a volunteer with GFC’s Advanced Above The Influence (AATI) youth group.

GFC staff members Laura Schairbaum, Deb Witkus, and Scott Sharland presented the award to DeCampo at GFC’s annual barbecue on July 27. She was awarded for being a strong role model and mentor for the youth of the community.

DeCampo has volunteered for the GFC coalition for several years. She helps facilitate weekly AATI youth group meetings and has helped members learn more about youth mental health first aid to prevent substance abuse, suicide, and depression. She has been a key part of planning and running the annual Park-A-Palooza community block party in June. Following the closure of the Bellows Falls Boys & Girls Club in June 2016, DeCampo began volunteering with the Friends For Change (FFC) youth group, which has been creating a new club for area youth. Besides working directly with the youth members, she has spearheaded recruiting additional volunteers for the club.

“Gina gives selflessly to so many things seen and unseen, and cares deeply about the youth in this community. We are so grateful for all that she does and her strong commitment to everything she is a part of,” Schairbaum said.

DeCampo, when accepting the award, said, “If I could tell you only one thing, it would be if you walk by someone on the street who may be struggling, say hello and give them your smile, it will make a huge difference.”

DeCampo was nominated by both Emma Wetherby and Hailee Galandak-Cochran.

“Gina is committed to building a better community and is passionate about keeping our youth safe. She cares deeply about connecting with young people who need support. She goes above and beyond to create a safe place for the most vulnerable in our community,” Galandak-Cochran said.

For this year’s award, DeCampo faced strong competition from several other nominees: Bonnie Anderson from the Bellows Falls Community Bike Project, Doreen Stoodley from the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, Emily Petretti from FFC and GFC; the staff members of Our Place Drop-in Center, led by Lisa Pitcher, were also nominated.

DeCampo joins Sam Fletcher, Sam Maskell, Christine Bullard, Barbara Ternes, Ryan Stoodley, and Mike Malick as A.C.E. Award winners.

The A.C.E. Award is sponsored by GFC, whose vision is to build a healthy, nurturing and supportive community. For more information, visit www.greaterfallsconnections.org.

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